Hillary Clinton addressed several issues pressing the Trump administration Friday, commenting on healthcare, immigration, foreign policy, and more during a candid discussion at the Women in the World summit in Manhattan.
“We deserve to see the Mueller report,” said Clinton, referring to the special counsel investigation’s report that Attorney General William Barr is currently redacting for release.
“If there is material that for whatever reason should not be shared publicly, it should be shared with the Congress,” she continued. Clinton also added that Barr’s behavior shows he “considers his principal duty to be protecting Donald Trump, not protecting the rule of law and the democracy the Justice Department should be defending.”
Being that Friday marked four years since Clinton launched her 2016 bid for the presidency, she reflected on how she and Trump approach America’s issues differently.
“I was well aware that we have problems that we have to solve, but it’s been my experience that anger, resentment, prejudice are not strategies. They stop people from thinking,” said Clinton. “There are people who absolutely feel left out, unheard, dismissed, marginalized, but what we’ve got to try to do is to appeal to everybody.”
Although she declined to comment on any of the 2020 Democratic candidates, Clinton said she is “absolutely delighted to see this incredibly diverse field, and especially to have more than one woman running for president of the United States.”
In regard to healthcare, Clinton spoke highly of countries with mixed systems, where the government takes the primary responsibility for healthcare but private plans are also available. As for Medicare for All, she said, “I’m all in favor of setting that goal. The specifics, though, matter.”
“We’ve got to be very honest with the American people about what it would cost, and what you will get, and how we make the transition,” said Clinton, adding that she has long supported universal healthcare and Medicare expansions.
Still, “The Affordable Care Act needs all of our support right now,” said Clinton. She warned against party divisions and how the Trump administration has turned to the Justice Department to undermine the program when Congress refused to do so.
“We shouldn’t be lobbing insults and attacks at one another. We should be recognizing that we could solve problems if we actually worked together and if we look at the evidence,” said Clinton. “I’m tired of people living in fact-free zones.”
Clinton also criticized the president for beating the issue of immigration “as a political drum to try to rally his supporters,” instead of solving the issue.
She suggested assigning more judges to the immigration courts, providing humane housing, and creating a system to better manage those crossing the country’s southern border.
“One of the worst things this administration has done,” said Clinton, is to separate families at the border and have no system in place to ensure the children would be accounted for.
Clinton also discussed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi Arabian operatives in Turkey’s Saudi consulate last October. President Donald Trump has refused to denounce Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the fact that Khashoggi’s murder “had to be ordered from the highest levels of the Saudi government,” said Clinton.
“There should have been a much stronger response by the United States,” she continued. “We cannot single-handedly in any way reach in and change the Saudi government. That’s beyond our power to do so, but you can certainly set standards.”
Clinton said this plays into a larger issue facing the Trump administration’s foreign policy. When the president gives up the United States’ role as a defender of human rights around the globe, “you surrender a lot of our power,” said Clinton. “We do have the biggest economy, still. We do have the largest military, still. Those are important, but what we stand for has always been more important.”
“This is not just a nice thing to do, this is leverage. This is how we try to create a world of laws, not of strongmen,” she said. “When you blow the top and say that you are supporting autocrats, dictators, nationalists, you are forgetting the lessons of the 20th century.”
“We dealt with the worst that people are capable of doing,” said Clinton, naming the concentration camps of WWII as one example. By arguing against institutions such as NATO, the European Union, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Clinton said Trump is “contributing to the unleashing of those very basic primal instincts.”
“We didn’t change human nature by creating this institutional framework,” said Clinton, “but we contained it and we set standards for it.”